"It is time…"
Deb Burgard, PhD
•Obese individuals are highly stigmatized.•Neural markers of obesity stigma extend beyond affective evaluation of bodies.
•Diminished neural resonance with obese individuals’ pain.
•Information regarding the causes of obesity modulates neural signatures of stigma.
And from the abstract:
During fMRI, normal-weight female participants observed short clips depicting normal-weight (NW) and obese (Ob) models experiencing pain. Importantly, participants believed that half of the Ob were overweight due to a hormonal disorder (HormOb) and ignored the cause of obesity of the remaining models (Unknown obese models; UnkOb). Analyses of hemodynamic responses showed reduced activity to the pain of Ob compared to that of NW in areas associated with pain processing and early visual processing. The comparison between the two Ob conditions revealed a further decrease of activity to HormOb’s pain compared to UnkOb’s (and NW) pain in the right inferior frontal gyrus, an area associated with emotional resonance. Our study demonstrates that stigma for obese individuals can be observed at implicit levels, and that it is modulated by knowledge concerning the etiology of obesity, with the seemingly surprising result that obesity due to disease may result in greater stigmatization.
Oh look, fat discrimination and ableism, intersecting and magnifying each other! Though it’s a depressing result, it’s a good illustration of the effects of stigma reinforcing itself, and that intersectionality is definitely a thing.
Especially from my fellow vegetarians and vegans.
"I keep hearing the construction: Meat = Diabetes = Death. Guys, this is a bad argument. For one thing, not everyone who eats meat is going to get diabetes, so that’s not helpful. For another thing, it makes those of us who do stop eating meat and still have blood sugar issues feel like shit. AND. It’s not like going veg means you are going to live forever."
My friend has a daughter who recently began kindergarten.
Her daughter is six.
She received a call from the school nurse that her daughter had been throwing away most of her lunch. Concerned, her mother told the girl to bring home what she didn’t finish, and she would…
Wait a minute, aren’t gallbladder issues an indication of obesity??
The first thing I asked the doctor who diagnosed my gallstones was “Do thin people get gallstones too?” And he said “Yep, they sure do.” I was assured when I…
Yep, there is a direct connection between weight loss and gallstones. They used to say “fair, fat and forty” put you at higher risk for gallstones because women in that category were the biggest dieters. Now, very low calorie diets are so common among fat folk that they often experience gallstone formation.
Question asked by justthestupidparts
First of all, I apologize for taking so long to answer your post. When I received it I was still out of town. Second, I wanted to write something thoughtful and I needed time to not write something out of anger. Anger that you would accuse me of doing harm by not mindlessly insisting on weight loss as the ultimate solution to a fat person’s health problems.
To start with I would like to state that I do not refuse to advocate weight loss, where it is appropriate to do so. I assume that you are operating on the false assumption that being fat automatically makes a person unhealthy. I can assure you that it does not.
"But, what about the obesity epidemic? What about the diabetes epidemic? But what about…?" I hear you ask.
There are lots of illnesses that have been statistically correlated with being fat. But the thing to understand is that correlation does not equal causation.
Lets use Type 2 diabetes and fatness as an example. Diabetes type 2 is an illness of insulin resistance. That means the body requires more insulin to produce the same sugar lowering effect than a nondiabetic body would need. Insulin is produced by cells in the pancreas called beta cells.
Contrary to popular belief, people don’t just go from being nondiabetic to diabetic overnight. Rather there is a process that occurs. We have found that there are differences in a person’s beta cells that happen long before a person even begins to show signs of insulin resistance. Many people who go on to become type 2 diabetics will have higher levels of insulin circulating in their bodies for years before they even become prediabetic. One of the other functions of insulin in the body is to promote the storage of excess energy as fat. So, insulin makes people fat, and keeps people fat (makes it harder to lose weight).
Can you see where I’m going with this? The question now becomes, are people diabetic because they are fat? Or are they fat because they are diabetic? This is an extremely important distinction to make.
When I see a diabetic person, fat or not, I tell them to make sure they get plenty of exercise and to watch what they eat to control their carbohydrate intake. What does this sound like? “Diet and exercise.” The difference is that I don’t tell people to lose weight. Many of my patients who follow this advice do in fact lose weight, and that is fine. Many of my patients do not. That is also fine. They all have better control of their sugars, and in most cases, to similar degrees. I fail to see how not insisting on losing weight is “doing harm.”
There are times when a person’s weight turns out to be a factor in their illness and where weight loss may help in treating it. In those cases, I do suggest some weight loss. But in NO case is it ever necessary for someone to get to their “ideal body weight” to help their condition.
Finally, let’s look at the idea of “doing harm.” Did you know that studies (link and link) have shown that the medical profession as a whole is biased against fat people? That there are countless stories about people having serious illnesses going undiagnosed because they are fat and doctors refuse to look beyond that? That fat patients stop going to their doctors after being repeatedly made to feel ashamed for being fat by their doctors? For trying so hard to lose weight but not being “successful?” That, to me is the real harm that is done. The psychological harm. The physical harm that results from not going to the doctor for a serious problem because the doctor will either ignore it or just embarrass them again.
Are you aware that the vast majority of people who lose weight are not able to maintain that weight loss over the long term? And that people can end up far fatter than they would have become otherwise due to the lose-gain cycle. That that cycle can also cause serious harm to a person?
I care about each and every one of my patients whether they are fat or not. Whether they are healthy or not. Fat patients get the same consideration given to their concerns as thin people. I don’t simply dismiss things because a person is fat or tell them that losing weight is the ultimate answer. If my medical work up indicates that losing a small amount of weight may help, then I suggest it. Otherwise, it is not necessary.
Finally, before you try to tell me about all the research that shows being fat is unhealthy, I have a few of links to lots of evidence-based medical research that shows that being fat does not necessarily make one unhealthy.
Serious question? Serious answer.
The doctor is fucking IN
No population in the United States has a higher obesity rate than African American women, four out of five of whom are overweight or obese, according to a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the general adult population, 70 percent of adults are overweight or obese.
I came across this article as I was perusing my alma-mater’s news website. The numbers and statistics of overweight and obese black women in America startled me. I’m not one to take a BMI or weight into too much consideration since we’re all different shapes and sizes and a person who is 145 lbs and 5’ 8” might look different than someone who weighs the same and is 5’ 1”, but this is truly an epidemic that is plaguing our nation’s women of color and especially those women who live in impoverished areas where healthy foods and access to proper healthcare is not easily accessible. Although those two factors can be used as an excuse for weight, I believe that we have finally come to the breaking point where we need to face this epidemic head on. Enough is enough ladies. Forget your about saving your ‘do, forget about choosing convenience over health when it comes to making meals, and let’s make a turnaround if not only for ourselves but also for the future generation of black women who are now predisposed to deadly health consequences due to this obesity epidemic.
Yes, let’s all panic, forget ourselves, feel ashamed and get anorexic, because the nice people said so. No wasted effort thinking about who’s generating this framing of humanness and what’s in it for them if this is accepted hook, line and sinker.
It’s not as if that hasn’t turned out well in the past.
Nor should we concern ourselves with the consequences of this anorexia worship on them, it just must be better than punk arsed Black People, amirite?
Let’s also regurgitate the idea that Black Women arrange their whole lives around saving their chemical ‘do’s, apart from doing minimum wage sweat that is.
And of course, nobody needs an extra helping of shame than Black People. Black Women especially seem to have been forgetting themselves. Acting as if they’re fully human or something. Don’t about the consequences for the next generation either, this is all about;
This article is a great example of the subtle ways that fat phobia is legally being used to replace other “isms” such as racism. Black bodies literally have heavier bones and muscles than white bodies do (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/6/1392.full).
Our government and medical establishment set out in the 90s to make sure Back women, who at that time were not as plagued by body image issues as white women, started feeling bad about themselves. The motive behind this was supposedly “health,” but in reality was just trying to tap another market for the diet roller coaster that is making the diet industry so much money.
On top of that, employers can avoid hiring a Black person “because of their weight” when in reality it’s because of their race.
Like all fat reduction campaigns, it isn’t about health; it’s about power and money.
One study argued that obesity shrinks your brain: http://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-and-neurological-health-information-26/alzheimer-s-news-20/smoking-diabetes-obesity-may-shrink-your-brain-655443.html
Guess what? PTSD and stress can shrink the hippocampus: http://www.psmag.com/health/ptsd-brain-studies-look-at-hippocampus-33419/
Which causes the shrinkage? We cannot know unless we can find a fat person who has never dealt with stress.
Once again, we cannot separate fat from fat hate as a cause of issues in fat people.
I’m currently writing The Unloved Child: Collateral Damage in the War on Obesity, and this is what came out today:
For me, the Fantasy of Being Thin is really the Fantasy of Being Good Enough. If I just looked right, I would be good enough. If I was thin enough, I would deserve to be treated…
I’ve been bullied, shamed, ridiculed, concern trolled, and given the “health talks” and “lose weight talks” my entire life. I’ve been put on diets and eating programs by well meaning people for as long as I can remember. I was a “good fatty”, because I hated myself. And I hated my body like a…